A Letter from the Founders:

Why We Are Launching TerraStor

In order to mitigate the most harmful effects of global warming and maintain temperatures no more than 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, we must act decisively and quickly in reducing our carbon footprint. In the United States, electricity production contributes the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions (25%) so it is pertinent that we address this sector immediately. At TerraStor, we aspire towards a socially responsible and carbon-free future, where humanity can still live a high-quality life, and the only way to do that is to unlock utility-scale electricity storage. This is a hard problem. It requires a lot of investment, ingenuity, industry expertise, and sheer grit.

But our team loves the difficult challenges, obsessing over the details, and solving complex problems. Climate change can’t wait a day longer: This is why our interdisciplinary team has decided to dedicate the rest of our careers towards solving this problem for humanity, today. With Matt’s expertise in energy projects and power markets, Paul’s in reservoir engineering and operations, and Ling’s in climate and business, we are perfectly poised to tackle this problem.

The grid’s ability to integrate renewable power sources such as wind and solar becomes problematic as they approach 15% of peak power capacity—or 25% of daily electricity use.

This is because wind and solar are variable, but the supply of electricity on the grid needs to be perfectly balanced with electricity demand at all times. Demand for electricity doesn’t change just because a cloud happens to pass over some solar panels and interrupt the electricity they were generating. Instead, the demand for that electricity must be immediately met from somewhere else. Right now, it comes from a peaking power plant, or from the utilities asking you to turn off your electricity, or in some desperate cases, forcefully turning off your electricity as we have seen with rolling blackouts. But managing a grid this way becomes exceedingly difficult and unstable the higher the rate of renewable energy penetration. In fact, many of the markets with high renewable energy sources, such as California and Texas, are already reaching the limits of how much additional renewable energy they can add to the electrical grid without significant grid re-design.

The only way we can move toward a 100% renewable electrical grid is to have effective grid-scale electricity storage solutions, which can store surplus renewable energy (which is renewable energy generated when it is not needed) for dispatch to the grid during times when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

We know that for the renewable energy transition to be successful, the solutions must be cost-competitive on their own, which is why we are focusing on compressed air energy storage, a solution that can provide meaningful amounts of storage at a low enough cost, cheaper than chemical batteries, and similar in scale to pumped hydroelectric storage, which accounts for 96% of all energy storage globally today. To learn more about the technology, please visit our Technology page.

Our team is working towards a day when every minute of every day, our electrical grid has zero carbon footprint. If this is a mission you are passionate about, we would love to hear from you.

Team photo: Paul, Matt, and Ling
Paul, Matt, and Ling